Term Paper: How China's Cultures and Politics Affect One Another and Ultimately Affect Social Change

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¶ … China's Cultures and Politics affect one Another, and Ultimately Affect Social change

China's politics and culture and how they came to affect the social order

In spite of the fact that it has experienced much economic progress in the recent years, China has managed to maintain it political ideology and many of its cultural values. Globalization has only had a limited effect on China when compared to other countries and this is most probably owed to the fact that the state focused on its background as a means to experience evolution. It is difficult to analyze China from the perspective of someone looking at recent events that the country has experienced. It is thus essential to consider China's history previous to communism in order to try and understand current dealings in the country. Patience is one of the most important concepts that one needs to address the topic of how China's cultures and politics affect each-other and how they both affect social change in the country.

The Chinese people have gotten accustomed to the government using force whenever it considers that it needs to emphasize its point-of-view. The government does not hesitate to make use of violence and similar strategies when it considers that a particular individual or community has a tendency to act in disagreement with its legislations. Even with this, China managed to preserve a great deal of cultural values in an environment dominated by communist ideology and by globalization.

China has experienced much change ever since Confucius set the basis for a Chinese 'soul' that contained a great deal of elements that the masses associate with the country and that are actually in discordance with many of the values respected by the contemporary Chinese community. The communist revolution of 1949 appeared to have created a major rupture with China's traditional background. The nature of the revolution produced much controversy, however, as people had trouble trying to determine "the extent to which the ideology and practice of Chinese communism could be said to reflect indigenous cultural influences" (Wasserstrom and Perry 1).

A great deal of individuals is inclined to believe that Chinese communism stands in contrast to traditional China. However, the truth is that Chinese Communists simply adapted traditional ideas with the purpose of making it possible for them to fit innovative thinking present in communism and in globalization. "The Chinese conceptions which underlie the theory of government are unique; unlike any others, and evolved in China. The roots are deep and nourished in a soil alien to the West; the flower is therefore also strange, and hard to recognize" (Fitzgerald 20). One can practically say that politics and culture are interdependent in China and that they influence each-other significantly. The contemporary ideology present in China is the result of a merging that took place between traditionalism and communism. "The Chinese Communists, embracing a world authoritarian doctrine in place of one local to China, have enlarged the arena in which old Chinese ideas can once more be put into practice, in more modern guise, expanded to the new scale, but fundamentally the same ideas which inspired the builders of the Han Empire and the restorers of the T'ang" (Fitzgerald 42).

One of the best methods of demonstrating that traditional values are still present in the Chinese society would be to look at the Chinese educational system. Communists lobbied in regard to how they would reform the system with the purpose of making education accessible to everyone, regardless of their background. Even with this, in spite of the fact that more than half a century has passed from the Chinese Revolution, educational inequality continues to dominate the country's educational institutes. In addition to the fact that many parents cannot afford to send their children to school, rural counties are unable to devise methods of funding the nine-year obligatory education program. The government directs many of its resources toward other domains and thus makes it very difficult and almost impossible for children to benefit from a presumably successful educational system. Traditionalism thus comes to fight head-to-head with communism as people who are unable to send their children to school are penalized and as many of these children fail to get actively involved in their country's agricultural system as they did before the Communist Revolution.

In an attempt to demonstrate that it has the ability to bring reform to all domains, the government provides wide-access to schooling, but ends up losing a great deal of resources as many parents are either unable or reluctant to send their children to school. The fact that some parents believe that schools actually indoctrinate their children influences them to refrain from sending their children to school. In spite of the fact that schooling is presently accessible to a wide range of individuals, "educational inequalities continue to widen, compliments of a hot-wired market economy and the easing of pressure on the central government over the responsibility to ensure access and equity" (Postiglione 3).

The fact that China has the world's biggest gross domestic product makes it possible for the general public to acknowledge that it is not exactly the typical communist country. While most are inclined to believe that this is owed to its tendency to adapt communism to globalization, it is also owed to the fact that it has preserved many of its cultural through the second half of the twentieth century and until now.

Considering that China has experienced much change after the Communist Revolution, it would seem perfectly normal for it to have preserved some of its cultural values in the years following it. However, when taking into account the recent dealings in the country, it would seem that it experienced a cultural rebirth as it came to go back to its roots during the last few years. Communism continued to dominate affairs in the country, but some of its more severe attitudes shown throughout the second part of the twentieth century seem to have been eradicated. Soft power is probably one of the most successful concepts that have been introduced into the country during the recent decades. "Party Chief and President Hu Jintao, for instance, noted at the Central Foreign Affairs Leadership Group meeting on January 2006 that the increase of China's international status and influence depends both on hard power, such as economy, science and technology, and defense, as well as on soft power, such as culture" (Li 1). This makes it possible for outsiders to understand that in spite of the fact that communism has significantly changed conditions in China, the Chinese did not abandon their background and Chinese leaders themselves stress the importance of cultural values when considering the country's well-being.

Chinese political leaders are well-aware that they can exploit culture with the purpose of keeping the people happy and in order to 'charm' the West with its background. This is why China is not only associated with communism by Westerners and why a great deal of individuals from around the world express interest in the country's ability to experience rapid economic growth. However, many strategists have expressed doubt regarding China's ability to effectively make use of its cultural values in order to improve relations with the masses and in order to influence society in thinking that it is actually a country that deserves to be taken seriously from a moral perspective (Li 2).

Strategists basically believe that China's soft power method is likely to back-fire because it is not 100% determined to respect its cultural values and because it is still inclined to act in disagreement with the human rights agenda when its leaders consider that they need to employ such an attitude (Li 2). Many consider that "China's capability to influence the rest of the world through soft power is restrained by a lack of agreement on what constitutes Chinese culture and values" (Li 2). In contrast, others believe that it is only a matter of time before the Chinese actually manage to experience success as a result of implementing soft power strategies. Furthermore, these people consider that China's soft power technique is experiencing success at the expense of the U.S. influence in the East. It appears that the contemporary society is more appreciative regarding soft power concepts than it is regarding reform.

Successful leaders apparently acknowledge the importance that politics and culture play in a country's well-being and are unhesitant about promoting culture similar to how they promote their ideology. China has realized that many social-political elites from around the world are especially interested in soft power and has engaged in restructuring its policies with the intention of making their country seem more appealing in the eyes of the general public.

China's economic development is largely owed to the fact that its leaders have provided international players with the chance to invest in this country. As a consequence, the international public came to view China as a country with a great deal of investment opportunities. However, while everything seems to be perfect when considering… [END OF PREVIEW]

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